The Fielding School of Public Health (http://ph.ucla.edu) offers a rich curriculum and valuable research, but up until now it has been difficult for them to share their content online.
Some of the challenges they faced on their old site:
People were unable to find their research-driven press releases and highy informative articles because their only tool for releasing this content was thorugh PDFs;
Their impressive faculty ranks where barely visible on their online presence because they didn't have a means of including faculty information on their old website;
Content for current students, such as events and job/internship opportunities, were so difficult to find and limited in their presentation that current students didn't actually believe the content existed on the internet (as we learned in user-testing).
When tasked to resolve these challengeds, The Cherry Hill Company took a content-first approach on the new site. As a result, the provides FSPH with:
An online version of their magazine;
Highly visible news, press release and events content that can be easily associated with and displayed on any content on the site, including department landing pages and specific faculty bios;
A comprehensive, highly visible faculty database that connects faculty to their publications, departments, and to news, press, research, events and magazine articles to which the faculty members are related;
The ability for faculty and department heads to manage faculty bios and publications so that they can be kept up to date without having to go through the small communications team;
Tools for syncing faculty onto specific (separate) department websites so that faculty data can all be maintained in one place;
A job bank for current students, in which students can favorite jobs of interest to them, and employers can manage their own job postings.
This case study will focus primarly on how the needs of the content directed every aspect of the project. We will also cover some of the tools we used to make this new site happen, including:
Migrate - a key component in making all of this work: we used migrate not only to bring old content to the new site, but also to automagically create users for all faculty on the site and give them access to their bios on site launch. We continue to use migrate to move the faculty content from the main FSPH website to the specific Department and Center sites.
Workbench - Workbench Access and Workbench Moderate are heavily used on the new site to enable each administrative department to only manage the content related to their office. It was also used to ensure that faculty bios did not go live until faculty had the opportunity to proof/edit their bios, and is still being used to enable employers to manage their jobs but giving Career Services the ability to moderate the jobs before they are available to students.
Mainstays such as Flag, Rules and Views, as well as a many other modules which, used in creative combinations, allowed us to satisfy unusual requirements.
Modular Site Planning - The new site was built with a modular approach. Each content type was planned out thoroughly one at a time, and then built to specification. As soon as the content type and its key views were ready, FSPH began entering the content for that specific content type. Once the content types existed, we took the same approach wtih the site sections. We will discuss how this process benefitted both us and the client, and enabled us to build, design and theme the site while nearly 20 people from FSPH concurrently worked on thousands of pages of content. We were fortunate to be able to do some real user testing with actual students and staff, as well, which informed which content was truly important during development.
The FSPH site is still being built, even now that it is live, as there is more that the school would like to deliver online. Our content-first approach has ensured that the site is highly flexible and can adjust as needed when new features are added. Through this case study, we will share how this was accomplished.